End of the Year Wrap: NIL and Athletes

For college athletes, the semester is over, and finals are complete. For most athletes, the holidays begin to slow everything down. 

In this time of recharge and recovery, athletes in the NIL era can get ready for the new year, get organized and prepare for what’s ahead in 2022. 

Here are six things all athletes should do before January 1 arrives: 

  1. Organize all the deals you completed 

Whether you’re a college athlete with the ability to do NIL activities since July 1 or someone who has had deals all year (pro or Olympic athletes), it’s best to track all your deals in one place. 

Hopefully you have been doing that already – or have them organized on your Opendorse app – but it’s not too late. If nothing else, use the Notes app in your phone or a spreadsheet to write down each deal. For those with an agent or advisor, check in with them to make sure everything you have matches up with their records. 

  1. Disclose to your compliance office 

With your deals now being tracked in a central location, it’s time to ensure everything has been disclosed to your compliance department. 

The Auto-Disclose feature in Opendorse Monitor™ helps with this and hopefully you disclosed NIL activities as soon as they were completed. However, you should check off each completed deal to make sure nothing was missed. 

Athletes on Opendorse can also use the Disclosure tool to enter the right information for their compliance department, if they use Monitor™. 

  1. 1099s – Who’s sending you one? 

Any company who paid you $600 or more in a calendar year is legally obligated to send you a 1099 form. These are typically sent in late January of the following calendar year (e.g., 1099 for 2021 is received in January or February 2022). 

If all your NIL deals were pitched, booked, and completed on the Opendorse platform and total more than $600 of compensation (in-kind and cash equivalent), you will receive one 1099 form from Opendorse. This will list all the income earned through the platform and be used to report during tax preparation. 

  1. Follow up with brands and fans you enjoyed working with 

Hopefully you followed up with your partners after each activity or deal was completed, but it’s always a good time to follow up one more time. 

Maybe even send a handwritten note, if you have your contact’s mailing address. That extra time and personal touch will show how much you valued the opportunity, and possibly show them you are someone to work with again in the future. 

  1. Reflect on social media posts that “worked” and those that didn’t 

Look back through your feed and reflect on the content you shared in 2021. Was there something that performed particularly well? What didn’t work like you thought it would? Did you have a good mix of personal and endorsement content? Are you happy with the personal brand you’re sharing with the world? 

One option is to archive or delete old posts to make sure your feed is the exact reflection of how you want to be perceived. This reset and look back will set you up for success in the year ahead. 

  1. Look ahead to 2022 

First, step away from the world of sports, NIL, and school. Think globally about the year gone by. 

While nothing is limiting you from doing this at any point in a year, the turn of the calendar always creates an opportunity for reflection and refinement. 

What created positive energy? What drained energy? Which relationships were strong, and which needed work? Did you do your best and make the most of your opportunities? What could you do more of? What should be stopped? 

Write it down. Create monthly goals with clear tactics to meet those goals. Understand how you are going to measure progress towards those goals. What metrics should be measured? How often are they being measured? 

Next, step back into the world of athlete endorsements with a clear head, and how you plan to proceed in 2022. What brands are out there aligned with your values? Target partners where your personal brand fits. Which ones are local? Which ones are regional or national? How can you reach them? More importantly, how can they reach you (hint: Opendorse Profile public link)? 

Define what lies ahead on your terms. That will help create confidence going into the new year.